Category Archives: Art instruction

Photoshop Tip: Magnetic Lasso

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Magnetic Lasso

I am currently studying Background and Shadows in an online course with Birgit O’Connor. While reading the section on preparing reference photos, I discovered I have a tool I didn’t know about.

Occasionally you might want to extract a subject from one of your photos to use it in a new composition.  It can be difficult to select only that object, especially if the edges are complex.  You’d like to separate a subject from its background, but you don’t want anything else in the image. This is often referred to in Photoshop as Making a Selection. 

I didn’t realize I had a Magnetic Lasso tool because it sits below the Lasso Tool by default.  The Lasso Tool allows you to draw a freehand selection around an object which can be difficult. 

The Magnetic Lasso Tool helps you detect the edges of an object by automatically clinging to them.  It works especially well where there is a lot of contrast between your subject and the background.  You can adjust the Edge Contrast and Frequency of anchor points to improve the selection.

My image shows a rose from my garden and a selection I did in less than a minute with the Magnetic Lasso.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a great starting point.  This was much easier to do than trying to drag the regular Lasso around all the edges myself.

This tool is also available in Photoshop Elements.  If you’d like to try it, I recommend searching for Magnetic Lasso online and following one of the many tutorials available.  You can also access the relevant Photoshop help files by clicking on the question mark in the tool bin. 

mageticLasso

 

 

Atmospheric Landscapes- Commonweal Lesson

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I hadn’t managed to complete this exercise from Atmospheric Landscapes the first time around.  It looked intimidating and I procrastinated a long time.

It was actually the only painting I hadn’t attempted, but since that first course. But Birgit O’Connor continuesto add content to existing courses(which is another good reason to sign up . I knew I had to get started if I really wanted to complete the course this time around.

It isn’t so much the subject- the reference image is actually not that detailed.  It’s Birgit’s interpretation and final painting that looked unobtainable. But I should have known by now that Birgit has a gift for guiding students step by step towards successful paintings.  If you look at a picture of any of her painting classes, they are ALL holding up beautiful paintings.

I followed the video lessons, and bit by bit, the painting emerged.  It’s amazing how certain strokes here and there can really “make” a painting.  I’m pleased with my result, and can only hope that I learn to incorporate this approach into my own inventions.